A march organized by the PSUV took to the streets of Caracas today, painting the streets of the city red with the party’s colour.
The PSUV called the march for today, January 23, to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the overthrow of Marcos Perez Jimenez, a Venezuelan dictator who was removed from office after a popular uprising in 1958.
During the event, Maduro called on the National Assembly to launch an investigation into what he called “the going economic coup”. Maduro said that he had “lots of information” about the coup, and that while he did not divulge any of it, he implored Venezuelans to support him through these difficult times. Maduro also took the opportunity to assault the Venezuelan opposition, saying:
Already, the bourgeois has reached the limit of what people can stand after two years of economic sabotage. It’s time for action with the law at our disposal. It’s time to show how a revolution can go forward through this test.
Maduro also brought Robert Serra’s mother up on stage, and proposed that she run as a candidate to the National Assembly in honour of her son. Maduro said:
This brave woman has transformed herself and taken her son’s battle position. I’m going to propose, just as she took her son’s battle position in La Pastora and became the leader of a circulo de lucha popular [a community organization] and is on the streets fighting, I think that with your bravery and honour you should be a candidate for the next National Assembly elections.
Maduro Briefly Mentions Currency Exchange Reform
During the same event, Maduro divulged a few details regarding the new system of currency exchanged he mentioned during his speech before the National Assembly on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Maduro announced a new currency exchange market, to which he refereed today as a way “for everyone who has dollars in their overseas accounts to bring them here”. Maduro did not give an estimate of how many Bolivares the U.S. dollar would trade for in this new market, although he did take the opportunity to take a shot at the opposition, whom he claims are desperate to learn the specifics:
We’ve driven them mad. They’re madder than ever.
MUD Holds Simultaneous Rally
The country’s official opposition bloc, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) held a low-key demonstration in Caracas to coincide with the PSUV march.
Jesus Torrealba, the leader of the MUD, read a message to supporters in which he urged Venezuelans to take control of their destiny and help put an end to the country’s crises:
In the barrios and in the middle-class neighbourhoods, the lower class and the middle class, to all Venezuelans who once voted for the PSUV and to all of those who have always stood against the totalitarian project, we are united today by a common cause. This cannot go on! This state of affairs cannot continue. There’s no reason why we Venezuelans should continue to go through the scarcity and all of the things that degrade our lives today. There must be change!
In the name of those who’ve been humiliated, offended and assaulted, they who are also the hopeful, determined and the convinced… we’ve come to say: Enough is enough!
Opposition figure Antonio Ledezma also spoke during the event. Ledezma argued that Maduro’s paranoid assertions that his government is the victim of several coups is an attempt to hide the identity of the only person responsible for Maduro’s unpopularity: Nicolas Maduro. Ledezma said:
When they want to accuse the opposition of carrying out a coup, we say that Maduro is not being overthrown by anyone: he’s overthrowing himself, because this is a government that has no answer to the crisis, a government that only makes Venezuela’s problems worse. This is a government that has yet to explain to the country where the billions of dollars in oil revenues they have managed – or better said, squandered – are, or what exactly the nature of the negotiations Maduro made during his trip are…
The MUD is calling for a march tomorrow, the biggest of which is expected to take place in Caracas starting at 10:00 AM.
A shot of Ledezma and other opposition figures during today’s event:
Below, some pictures of the PSUV demonstration in Caracas:
Merida on Edge
The city of Merida, Merdia state, saw confrontations between protesters and security officials throughout the day.
The confrontations mark the end of a day of demonstrations by opposition supporters:
At some point during the day, National Guard troops began to face off against small groups of hooded protesters:
A group of protesters appear to have burned a vehicle: